Minnesota: Best in U.S. for long-term care services

By John Michaelson
Minnesota News Connection

It’s an issue that’s growing in importance, along with the age of Minnesota’s population. And when it comes to long-term care, a newly released report ranks the state best in the nation.

The top rating comes from the latest national scorecard that reviewed some 26 indicators of long-term support and services, says Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson.

“I’m delighted that it recognizes the great long-term care system we have here in Minnesota,” she stresses. “I think the report tells you where you live matters, and the best place to be for seniors and people with disabilities overall is Minnesota.”

The 2014 scorecard is from AARP, along with The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation.

Jesson says Minnesota is in the top spot because the state has a strong system of support and services.

She also credits ongoing efforts to help people live independently and to be protected when they are receiving services.

“Next year, we’re going to roll out a new streamlined system that’s going to make it easier to report abuse and neglect and streamlined investigations so that investigations get done more quickly,” she says. “So we’re not sitting on our laurels here.”

Despite the number one ranking, the report did point out areas of concern especially around effective transitions, according to Mary Jo George, associate state director of advocacy with AARP Minnesota.

“For example, we don’t want to see people have to move between their home and the hospital and back to a nursing home and then back to the hospital,” she explains. “And so we may need to do a better job in decreasing hospital admissions for those that are receiving home care.

“And we think this would not only be good for the patient, but it is more cost effective as well.”

The scorecard says with improvements on long-term services and supports in Minnesota, another 25,000 older adults, family caregivers and adults with disabilities would benefit.